Steel vault / safe door - black and white.



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Citizens Alliance Bank, formerly known as Citizens State Bank of Clara City (CSBCC) until October of 2010, was originally chartered as the German American Bank on November 15, 1902.

The Bank operated as a Company Bank under the name of German American Bank until the year 1909 when it was incorporated and given a Minnesota state charter under the name of German American State Bank. The Bank continued to operate under this name until 1918 when, due to adverse sentiment toward the German people as a result of World War I; the name was changed to Citizens State Bank of Clara City.

On October 2, 2010, CSBCC changed its name and logo to Citizens Alliance Bank to better reflect the institution’s continued growth and expansion into new communities.

The Bank has experienced numerous challenging economic events along with substantial regulatory and competitive changes. Most notably, the Bank survived the Great Depression of 1929 and the Great Recession of 2008, which saw numerous community bank failures. Despite these two formidable trials, Citizens Alliance Bank remained open without interruption of service to its customers. In the 121-year history of Citizens Alliance Bank, we have never had a single layoff of personnel due to an economic downturn, a change in the business climate, a war, a disease outbreak (such as a pandemic), or a change in our business strategy.

In 1955, at age 26, C.R. (Kelly) Forstrom {b.01/18/1929 – d.11/17/2015}, originally from Willmar, Minnesota moved to Clara City with his wife Norma {b.4/2/1932 – d.6/26/2023}. Norma taught school (Kindergarten through 9th Grade) in a one room schoolhouse in Kandiyohi County. Kelly and Norma saved Norma’s teaching pay of $1,500 per year and lived off of Kelly’s income. Norma’s teaching income is what they used for the $5,000 down payment to purchase a minority interest in the Bank. This purchase is what brought them to Clara City. Citizens had $3 million in assets at this time and employed 6 people. Over the years, Kelly eventually acquired all the shares of the Bank as well as Citizens State Insurance Agency.

On November 5, 1982, Forstrom Bancorporation, Inc. (FBC) was formed as a parent or holding company to be used as a conduit for future Bank acquisitions. At that time, all the stock of Citizens Alliance Bank was transferred from C.R. Forstrom to FBC. Controlling interest in FBC was sold to Kelly and Norma’s four sons (Philip, Paul {b.10/08/1959-d.01/26/2001}, Perry and John) on December 31, 1990. This was the same day that Kelly retired as active President of Citizens Alliance Bank and its various affiliates.

In 1983, FBC purchased Security State Bank of Howard Lake from Omar and Verna Glessing.

A significant event in the history of the Bank would include the merger of Americana State Bank’s (Clara City) assets and liabilities into Citizens Alliance Bank on September 1, 1987. Over the years, the location of Citizens Alliance Bank has changed a number of times within Clara City.  After an extensive renovation, Citizens Alliance Bank’s Banking Operations were moved to the former Americana State Bank facility at 126 North Main Street. Citizens Alliance Bank remained at that location until June 2004 when all of the Bank’s Operations and Insurance Agency were moved into a new two story 18,000 square foot building located at 55 1st Street NW in Clara City. Upon completion of the new facility in 2004, the former Americana State Bank facility was donated to the City of Clara City and is now the public library.

On April 1, 1991, Citizens Alliance Bank acquired and merged nearby Security State Bank of Maynard (Minnesota).

In 1995, CAB purchased the branch of U. S. Bank in Granite Falls, Minnesota.

On February 28, 1998, FBC purchased 100% of the stock of First Valley Bank , Seeley Lake, Montana.

On October 1st, 2005, Citizens Alliance Bank acquired by merger, First State Bank of Lake Lillian, Minnesota.

On May 1, 2007, FBC purchased the parent company of Yellow Medicine County Bank in Granite Falls and Echo, Minnesota.   As a result of this purchase, the Yellow Medicine County Bank and its branch office in neighboring Echo, Minnesota were merged into Citizens Alliance Bank

On October 14, 2011, Citizens Alliance Bank merged with its affiliate bank, Security State Bank of Howard Lake, Minnesota (SSBHL) and thereby acquired its branch office in Watertown, Minnesota. SSBHL was originally chartered on September 15, 1915 and until the merger with Citizens Alliance Bank, it operated as a wholly-owned subsidiary of FBC. On May 17, 2013 Citizens Alliance Bank merged with its affiliate bank, First State Bank of Murdock, Minnesota. On April 25, 2014 Citizens Alliance Bank merged with its affiliate bank, First Valley Bank of Seeley Lake, Montana.

In March of 2016, Citizens Alliance Bank completed construction of a 10,000 square foot facility in Clara City to house the Bank’s Human Resources, Information Technology and other support functions. The North Annex as it is known also leases space to CCM Health, a satellite medical clinic thereby restoring family practice medical services to the community.

Effective with the close of business on Friday, April 22, 2016 the wholly-owned affiliate First Bank of Lincoln in Lincoln, Montana was merged into Citizens Alliance Bank. On Monday, August 7, 2017 the first Loan Production Office of the organization opened in Great Falls, Montana which subsequently was converted into a full-service branch effective Monday, July 16, 2018.

Construction of a new three story facility of approximately 18,000 square feet on the West Bank (of the Missouri River) development of Great Falls, Montana commenced in the summer of 2020. The Bank will occupy the first and the second levels, leaving the third level available for prospective tenants. Citizens Alliance Bank’s new facility in Great Falls was open to the public on Thursday, July 29, 2021.

In addition, beginning fall of 2019, the Lincoln, Montana office was expanded by approximately 2,100 square feet to accommodate more offices, storage space and a larger employee break-room. Completion of the Lincoln addition including landscaping was completed in the winter of 2020.

In April of 2019 demolition began on the former NAPA and Main Street Fitness buildings in Clara City to make way for the East Annex Building; a two story, 12,000 square foot facility houses Bank Administration and Operational Support Personnel.  Construction was completed in July 2020 and the landscaping was completed in Fall 2020.

On May 13, 2019 Citizens Alliance Bank entered into a purchase and merger agreement with Poe Investment Company to acquire 100% of its subsidiary, Farmers & Merchants State Bank of Sacred Heart, Sacred Heart, Minnesota. The merger was completed with the $25 million asset bank as of the close of business on August 16, 2019.

On June 1, 2020 Citizens Alliance Bank announced it had recently reached a deal to acquire 100% of the outstanding stock of Citizens State Insurance Agency. Citizens State Insurance Agency became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bank effective July 1, 2020.

Citizens State Insurance Agency has been a Forstrom family-related company for over 50 years. Most recently it was owned by the Forstrom brothers, Philip, Perry and John. Effective with the change in ownership, the legal name was changed to Citizens Alliance Agency, Inc.

Citizens Alliance Bank announced in June of 2020 that it entered into a Letter of Intent Agreement to acquire and merge 100% of the Goeman Insurance Agency, LLC of Clara City and Montevideo, Minnesota from father and son – William (Chip) and Kyle Goeman. Goeman Insurance Agency was a successful and highly respected full line, independent insurance agency based in Clara City. The agency has been under three generations of Goeman Family ownership beginning with William Goeman Sr. in 1953. Effective with the close of business on July 31, 2020 Goeman Insurance Agency and its employees were merged into Citizens Alliance Agency and thereby became part of the Citizens Alliance Bank franchise. Citizens Alliance Agency will continue to offer property and casualty, life and health, as well as crop insurance coverage.

On August 21, 2020, Citizens Alliance Agency entered into a Letter of Intent Agreement to acquire and merge with the Saue Insurance Agency of Montevideo, Minnesota. Saue Insurance Agency has been a long-time, successful and highly respected full line, independent insurance agency based in Montevideo. Saue Insurance Agency and its employees will be merged into Citizens Alliance Agency and thereby become part of the Citizens Alliance Bank franchise. With the purchase of Saue Insurance Agency, Citizens Alliance Agency acquire an All State Insurance Company contract to add to the portfolio of companies they can write. The transaction between Citizens Alliance Agency and Saue Insurance Agency closed on October 1, 2020.

Effective, October 26, 2020, the Bank opened a Loan and Deposit Production Office in Montevideo, Minnesota. The Loan and Deposit Production Office is housed in the Citizens Alliance Agency building (formerly the Goeman Insurance Agency building) located at 1406 E Highway 7. While not a full-service branch, a Loan Production Office can originate, approve, and close loans of all types. A Deposit Production Office may solicit deposits, provide information about deposits, and assist persons in completing application forms and related documents to open or maintain a deposit account.

On December 28, 2022 Citizens Alliance Bank entered into a merger agreement to acquire Granite Mountain Bank. Granite Mountain Bank has offices in Butte, Philipsburg and Drummond, Montana. Granite Mountain Bank has 20 employees and has $135 million total assets. The merger was concluded as of the close of business June 2, 2023 and rebranded as Citizens Alliance Bank.

On October 2, 2023, Chad Forkrud and Kyle Goeman announced that Citizens Alliance Bank finalized the purchase of 110 N. Main Street in Clara City which is formally known as Brix Rexall Drug.  The single story, 3000 square-foot facility will be renovated during the summer of 2024.   A grand opening is anticipated for October of 2024.   Click here for exterior renderings of the new Citizens Alliance Agency building.

Citizens Alliance Bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of Forstrom Bancorporation Inc. which in turn is equally owned by the Forstrom Brothers. Forstrom Bancorporation has consolidated assets to about $1.6 billion. Together Citizens Alliance Bank and Citizens Alliance Agency employ 208 people in 16 communities throughout West-Central Minnesota and Western Montana.